Augmented Reality Social Media: Everything Marketers Need to Know

March 30, 2022 • Written by Camera IQ

Augmented Reality Social Media: Everything Marketers Need to Know

Social media marketing is changing, fast. Once only about text, pictures, and video, the introduction of augmented reality has wholly transformed how brands can relate to their consumers. If you’re looking to understand more about augmented reality social media and why it’s created a whole new world for marketers, then read on. This article will cover everything you need to know to join the social AR revolution.

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What Is Augmented Reality in Social Media?

Augmented reality in social media uses advanced visualization technology to digitally enhance the real-world content shared on these platforms. These enhancements can take many forms, including virtual product try-ons, interactive gaming, and more. Many of the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have embraced AR to increase user engagement. The popularity of augmented reality in social media has snowballed in recent years. Experts estimate that total monthly social AR users will account for well over 20% of the social media user base by 2022

Why Augmented Reality in Social Media Is So Powerful for Marketers

Throughout the history of marketing, the consumer has been a passive participant. They watch, read, or hear the ad creative — but they don’t help create the creative. The use of AR in advertising introduces a completely new model for the consumer/brand interaction. In this advertising paradigm, the audience is no longer a passive consumer of creative. Instead, they become active participants in an immersive advertising experience, and this approach is proving to be highly effective. Camera IQ has found that AR experiences can generate engagement rates of 50% and conversion rates of 12%. This significantly outperforms passive content, which produces engagement rates of 1.6% and conversion rates of 3.5%. 

Augmented Reality in Social Media Examples

Now that we’ve covered augmented reality and marketing let’s review how some major social media companies have leveraged AR on their platforms. 

Social AR on Snapchat

Snapchat was one of the first to use the power of AR to boost platform engagement and provide new avenues for user content creation and sharing. They allowed users to inject more fun, variety, and personality into their creations by giving them the ability to add context-aware digital overlays — like glasses, hats, and facial hair — to subjects of their short, shareable videos. This innovative feature was one of many reasons why Snapchat has seen sustained user growth over the years, with the most recent figures putting daily active users on the platform at a staggering 306 million. And those hundreds of millions of users, according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, are deeply engaged with AR: The average user interacts with this feature 30 times a day

In 2020, iconic fashion brand Gucci teamed up with Snapchat to create a global shoe “try-on” marketing campaign with augmented reality. The AR experience allowed consumers to see how they looked in different Gucci footwear without ever having to visit a store and order pairs they liked directly through the experience. The approach was a massive hit, producing almost 20 million views and a positive ROAS for the brand.

If you’re curious about how you can use AR experience to engage with Snapchat users, this article is packed with expert advice

Social AR on Instagram

Once Snapchat had proven the popularity of augmented reality in social media, its rivals were quick to bring their own versions to life. Instagram initially added AR functionality back in 2017, and — just like it was on Snapchat — the feature was a massive hit with users. First rolled out on Instagram Stories, AR overlays can now be added to Instagram Reels content. Over the years, the use of AR on the platform has evolved far beyond glasses and hats to include virtual makeovers, interacting gaming experiences, etc. — and all of these types of AR experiences are successfully leveraged by brands for marketing campaigns. With over 2 billion monthly users as of December 2021, Instagram has now far outstripped Snapchat as an augmented reality social media platform. 

Gaming giant EA used AR advertising on Instagram as part of their campaign for Madden NFL 21, the latest edition of the highly successful football game franchise. Built with Camera IQ’s creative platform, the AR experience gave each fan the chance to get their own “Madden Rating.” The campaign blew up on the platform, generating over five million views and a share rate of 9.4%. The success EA saw with this approach led them to use AR experiences in the campaigns for other important gaming franchises like UFC 21 and NHL 21.

Social AR on Facebook

With Facebook corporate’s recent rebrand to Meta, it’s clear that the social media giant is going all-in when it comes to virtual world-building. It should come as no surprise then that the company has rolled out AR functionality across its digital properties. Since 2019, the platform has allowed users to use AR on Facebook Stories, Messenger, and Portal. Facebook has also introduced a basic AR experience creator tool, Spark AR, which can build and publish filters on Facebook and Instagram. 

Volvo used augmented reality advertising on Facebook to bring the car shopping experience to its customers during the pandemic, allowing them to explore a new model from the safety of their own homes. From 360 walkarounds to feature deep-dives, the AR experience enabled consumers to discover everything about Volvo’s new electric SUV model, the XC40 Recharge. The approach left an impression on consumers, increasing ad recall by 14.2 points and boosting the model’s awareness within the target audience by almost 300K. 

Social AR on TikTok

Following a period of rapid growth from 2019 to 2020, TikTok has now established itself as a pillar of the social media landscape, boasting over 1B monthly active users globally. Given the short-form video platform’s playful ethos (TikTok’s mission statement is to “inspire creativity and bring joy”), it’s no surprise the app has swiftly embraced augmented reality: TikTok introduced an AR ad format for brands in 2020, and subsequently announced the development of an in-app AR creation studio in 2021. The relative novelty of AR marketing on TikTok, compared to more established channels like Instagram and Snap, means the platform is not yet noisy with advertisers—so brands that jump on the opportunity to publish TikTok AR effects are in a strong position to make an impact.

How to Start Using Social AR to Build Your Brand

Augmented reality on social media has come a long way from the days of image and video filters. These days, users see it as a versatile means of entertainment, exploration, and self-expression – and the brands that embrace this broader view are well-positioned to succeed over the coming years. 

Camera IQ believes in the power of camera and AR to transform advertising and has built a platform that makes it easy for any brand to engage with its audience through these singularly meaningful interactive experiences. 

To find out more about how Camera IQ can help your brand with AR, use the form below to request a demo of our no-code platform.

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